Gingival recession, also known as receding gums, is a condition in which the gum tissue around the teeth pulls back, exposing more of the tooth surface and the tooth’s root. This can occur due to a varieties of causes, including:
- Gum disease: The most common cause of gingival recession is periodontal disease, which is an infection of the gums and the supporting structures of the teeth.
- Brushing too hard: Aggressive brushing can cause the gum tissue to recede by damaging the delicate tissues around the teeth.
- Clenching or grinding teeth: This habit can put excessive pressure on the gums, causing them to recede over time.
- Malpositioned teeth: Teeth that are misaligned or overcrowded can put extra pressure on the gums, causing them to recede.
- Tobacco use: Smoking or using other tobacco products can damage the gums, making them more likely to recede.
- Genetics: Some people may be more prone to receding gums due to their genetics.
The early stages of gingival recession may not cause any symptoms, but as the condition progresses, it can cause sensitivity, pain, and an increased risk of tooth decay and infection .
The treatment of gingival recession depends on the underlying cause. Common treatment options include:
- Scaling and root planing: This procedure involves removing plaque and tartar from the teeth and smoothing the roots of the teeth to help the gums reattach.
- Gum grafts: In some cases, a gum graft may be necessary to cover the exposed root and protect it from further damage.
- Orthodontic treatment: In some cases, orthodontic treatment may be used to reposition the teeth and reduce pressure on the gums.
- Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the recession and protect the tooth.
- Changing oral hygiene habits: Brushing and flossing regularly, using a soft-bristled toothbrush, and avoiding tobacco use can help to prevent receding gums and maintain good oral health.
It’s important to see a dentist or periodontist if you suspect you have receding gums in order to prevent the condition from worsening and to protect your teeth and gums.